So, I wasn’t exactly going to tell anyone this, because if I did, people would know and possibly try to hold me accountable. Or encourage me. Or you know, want to know more than I was willing/ready to say.
But here it is: I kind of started writing a story the other day.
Before you ask, I don’t know where it’s going; I don’t know what the big plot point is; I don’t know if I can finish it at all or if it is any good. I don’t know.
Last month at Hutchmoot, I realized how long it had been since I sat down to write simply for the pleasure of writing. When writing and editing is your day job, it’s sometimes hard to remember that it is a creative process. I haven’t been able to simply enjoy that process for a long time and had nearly forgotten that it is a part of what drew me to writing in the first place.
But writing is also a discipline and in order to grow as a writer you have to write. You have to write when you don’t want to. When you’d rather sit on your couch and watch “Warehouse 13” with your dog and chat with a friend on Facebook. When you’re happy and when you’re sad. When you know what you want to write and when you have absolutely no idea.
So a few weeks ago, I set aside an hour in the evening and sat down in front of my keyboard and just started writing. I had a general idea of what the story was about and have a general idea of where I want it to go, but even that’s a bit unclear. Over the past few weeks, I’ve carved out a little more writing time and have now written about 2500 words. I still don’t know what’s happening, but I’m having fun with the process.
Part of that process has been making myself just sit down and write. Many writers disagree, but I do follow the advice of “just getting it out” and not caring about spelling, grammar, and other issues in the meantime. You can put on your editing hat and come back to all that later. Right now, you just have to write. To click the keys on the keyboard. I’ve had to quiet my urge as a trained editor to self-edit and waste my creative time on details that can honestly be dealt with later.
As I said, I have no idea what I’m doing, but I hope to at least write a short story. It may never see the light of day, but I undoubtedly am enjoying (and sometimes hating the discipline of) the writing life.
And if you’re interested, so far my story is about Lanie, a young magazine writer who gets fired from her job at a regional southern lifestyle magazine in the opening scene. She deals by quoting Scarlett O’Hara, drinking coffee, and eating a big cookie. (Yes, parts of her are undeniably me.) I’m not sure what happens next, but I know a call from home is coming and she will return to her hometown to help take care of an aging grandfather now suffering from dementia who can’t remember her and wasn’t exactly a positive force in her life.
Maybe someday if I ever finish the story and feel it’s fit for others’ eyes, I’ll let you read it.